Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Theory of Obama

I have a theory that answers many, many of the questions that we keep asking about this mysterious man.

"Why did he go to France and 'apologize for America' as showing 'arrogance' and being 'dismissive, even derisive'?" "Why does he keep doing 'unpresidential' things, like repeatedly appearing on Letterman and Conan O'Brien, or attacking Rush Limbaugh by name, or chanting fired up! ready to go! fired up! ready to go! to audiences of supporters?" "Why is his smile so amazingly consistent?" "Why did he think that the best thing he can do for his health plan is not to negotiate with different factions but to give more speeches, even though he has already given almost 200 speeches on the same subject?" "Why do people keep saying he is 'brilliant' while he keeps making boneheaded mistakes?"

I have the answers.

In his whole life, this man has only ever demonstrated that he possesses one skill set to a superlative degree: the skills used in campaigning for office. It is the one and only thing he is brilliant at.

It is true that he taught law for years in Chicago, but there is no known evidence of his being especially good at it. He apparently never published anything in all those years, not even a book review. He held positions in two different legislatures, but he was too busy campaigning for his next job to write important legislation.

It's not that campaigning is the only thing he knows how to do, but it is the only thing in the world he feels really right, really comfortable about doing.

So he is stuck in campaign mode. It's all he ever does. That's the reason for all the speechifying. Giving speeches is what campaigners do. And when he went to France, he wasn't apologizing. He was campaigning. In fact, he was doing his favorite kind of campaigning: running against Bush. Why not? It worked against McCain, didn't it? And the French hate Bush even more than Americans do. The arrogant-dismissive-derisive comment wasn't about America, and is certainly wasn't an apology: it was simply another attack on Bush.

This explains the many unpresidential things he does. They are untypical of a president, but they are all very typical of the glad-handing, baby-smooching, fake-idealism-spouting, campaigning pol. As is the perfect, though fake, smile in the above 130 pictures (yes, they are completely different pictures, taken from the State Department's web site).

What we are finding now, to the surprise and amazement of some, is that actually running a giant state requires a rather different skill set from the activity of getting the voters to let you run it. That is something that this man does not yet know how to do.


Ann said...

Brilliant, Lester! You said it all. I believe our institutions are resilient enough to weather three more years of this guy.

Lester Hunt said...

I share your tempered optimism. After I voted in the last presidential election, I walk past a pond loud with frogs, and when I got home I wrote this:

In a corner of the pond, a green frog (Rana clamitans) was floating, its forelegs stretched out in the water, enjoying what may be the last warm day of the season. Winter is coming. The winters here are long and dark, but if it is lucky that frog will still be alive when spring comes again. I hope so.